Badals’ ‘blue-eyed Pehalwan’ is worth Rs 1,200 crore, owns 92 prime properties across Punjab
The properties were allegedly amassed over the past 16 years — SAD-BJP ruled Punjab for 10 of those years — starting from when he was a junior engineer.punjab Updated: Jun 15, 2017 19:01 IST
The vigilance bureau of Punjab has found that mandi board superintendent engineer (SE) Surinder Pal Singh ‘Pehalwan’, an alleged favourite of the Badals of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has 92 properties worth more than Rs 1,200 crore across the state in the names of his family and associates.
These include 30 commercial properties in SAS Nagar, Ludhiana, Moga, Sangrur, Muktsar, Malout and Rupnagar, among other places, and a 1,000-sq-yard house in Chandigarh bought in 2014. Three companies owned by his family also have deposits of Rs 57 crore. The properties were allegedly amassed over the past 16 years — SAD-BJP ruled Punjab for 10 of those years — starting from when he was a junior engineer.
This is clearly disproportionate to his salary, which is now around Rs 1 lakh a month, VB sleuths conducting the probe said. A detailed analysis of documents shows that there is “hardly any prime location left” in the state’s major cities where the SE — son-in-law of a cousin of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal — does not own property, said VB officials on Wednesday.
“Estimation of present value of the properties is underway,” said vigilance chief director BK Uppal, adding, “The possibility of his owning more properties is not ruled out.”
The Badal regime was so benevolent to the officer that, at one point in 2014, he held 22 official posts, including those of chief engineer of Punjab Mandi Board, of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), and of Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA).
IN WHOSE NAME?
Uppal said these properties were purchased by five firms floated by him in the name of his family members and associates. Of the 92 properties, 42 were purchased in the name of Access Agro Seed Pvt Ltd and five in the name of Award Agro Traders Pvt Ltd, both firms registered in Ludhiana. Eleven properties were bought by Auster Agro Traders Pvt Ltd; 20 by Akme Crushers and Builders Pvt Ltd; two by Ek Onkar Builders and Contractors Pvt Ltd, Ludhiana; and 12 in the individual names of relatives. A two-kanal kothi in Chandigarh was bought in the name of Award Agro Traders.
Access Agro Seeds was incorporated in March 2005 and the directors of the company are Pehalwan’s wife Mandeep Kaur and mother Swarnjit Kaur. The same two women are directors in Award Agro Traders, formed February 2009.
There is also a case of appropriating and routing government money. Ek Onkar Builders and Contractors was formed in December 2010; its directors and shareholders are a former mandi board JE, Gurmesh Gill, and Mohit Kumar, son of a retired employee of the board. It is alleged that Pehalwan allotted various construction works to this firm during his stint in the GMADA and the mandi board. Money withdrawn from this firm’s account was deposited in the accounts of the other firms, Uppal said.